Fortunately, every day over the 4th of July weekend I was able to make it to my garden to water and weed. For the holiday weekend, I did some camping in Nederland and visited friends in Aspen but was happy to come home to Denver in-between stays elsewhere to nurture my roots. Wanting to eat my very own vegetables, I grew anxious and I actually started talking to my plants, also nuzzling them gently with my fingers, encouraging them to grow...
By Tuesday I could barely stand it any longer and (lacking motivation to go to the grocery store) I decided that while the kale could probably use more time, some of it could definitely be up-rooted and eaten! I know I am going to have so much of it, I don't see any harm in having some early.
Looking around my plot I noticed several lady bugs basking/ nibbling on my cilantro. I started to weed the four plentiful patches of cilantro and realized most of it looked ready, some of it was even going to start flowering soon. In the past week I picked approximately three cups worth, there is so much ready still and lots more still growing. Over this past weekend, while browsing a bookstore in Highlands, I learned that cilantro works to reduce bad insects (like the Colorado potato beetle) in your garden and attract beneficial ones when planted near other vegetables. I haven't read any information on how to pick cilantro--I know it's supposed to be clipped just above where the stems join together, but not sure if this is because it regrows?
My trips to the garden this past week have been brief--a little watering (it's been raining every day here), with a little bit of weeding. I realized I accidentally weeded the zinnia's and that my could-be-eggplant was just a weed. I finally weeded the broccoli only to uncover a Rolly Polly Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately, I don't think the broccoli is doing so well; it really doesn't look so hot and is always sagging on the ground. The bees are no longer attracted to it either. Yesterday I put some square wiring up around it so hopefully it stays tall and reduces my knack for constantly breaking the broccoli stems. I am fervently waiting for the carrots and the beets to grow, and I rest in trepidation of making a salad with beet greens, which I very well could do and know that I should. While beets are growing underground, you have the ability to trim the leaves growing above ground; these are edible and often used in salads or smoothies, and the beets will continue to grow underground unharmed.
But most of my time at the garden has been spent picking raspberries... Last week I filled 3+ mason jars with golden and rose raspberries. The raspberry bushes are community bushes, there are maybe six of them and they are rather large, bordering four plots alongside the metal fence that harbors all the plots. Yet no one seems to be picking any of them?! It appears as though people are simply skimming raspberries off the tops of the bushes, and when I get down on my hands and knees, push my way into the bushes, raspberries gracefully shake right off its limbs. There are so many raspberries they are even going bad--and there are more coming! Honestly, I'd never heard of or seen golden raspberries before, and I had to google them to find out if they were real or I was just eating un-ripe fruit. I thought they had to be real because, to me, they taste just like Colorado's best honey-wine. I do believe I'm in love.
So what did I do with my produce? I crafted a few new recipes. I gotta admit, it's been awhile since I've really been in the kitchen cooking dinner. Summer seems to be a time where I'm camping a lot, which means I'm grilling a lot (even if I'm not camping), and it also seems people like to go out to eat more during the summer--you can sit on patios and drink white wine ;) Anyway, I always try to use as many of my ingredients as possible in one dish. Sometimes this works better than other times, but it certainly forces you to get creative in the kitchen. This week I made a few different dishes... All of these speak true to my personality, I hope you like them as much as I do! Click on the title for the actual recipe.
Raspberry and chipotle is a scintillating combo! This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, quick & easy, and packed with fiber and antioxidants!
This delicious summer dish is gluten free, optionally dairy free, and perfect for a rainy summer brunch!
Unfortunately my camera pooped out for this one! This is a great rendition of your average, boring sloppy joe with healthy, zesty, mayo-free coleslaw. This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free and the coleslaw is vegan.
Happy 4th of July weekend y'all! PHEW! It's been nearly a month since my last post and a lot has happened--I turned in my thesis on Autoimmune Thyroid Disease and shortly after I graduated from the Nutrition Therapy Institute. I gave myself a significant brain-break afterwards, but spent quite a few hours bent over getting sun-burned weeding! I had no idea that there would be soo many weeds!!! A lot has changed in my DUG in the past month.
My folks came out for my graduation ceremony June 17th and I thought, instead of doing touristy things we've already done, we'd have some family fun time weeding my garden. My garden desperately needed my attention and, perhaps selfishly, I wanted all the extra hands I could get! My folks and I rode some of Denver's shared B-Cycle's over to the garden from downtown--they were not amused when we arrived 4 miles later to find an overgrown plot that my Mom was convinced needed to be roto-tilled and started over. I was offended. Yes--lots of weeds, but I could see some vegetables in there. Below you can what a weed patch my plot developed into; you can also see the nice clean plots just beaming perfection behind mine :)
MAmy (Amy & Mom squished together) and I spent maybe 30 minutes working on the area most clearly recognizable and developed (the kale/ chard) before it started raining. I let her use my gloves and I got my hands in the dirt. I felt like we put a good dent in the plot; I felt good about our time there. Clearing away that much space made me feel like I could successfully weed the whole plot and find hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered. I had a better idea and feel of what was a weed and what wasn't. Well the garden really exploded within the next week. By June 26th everything shot up at least twice its height and I ended up spending a good 5-6 hours tearing weeds up and getting dirty with the rolly polly's! I had a blast discovering what was underneath--cilantro, broccoli, carrots, beets, butter-head lettuce, and (maybe) eggplant. I also found some sunflowers. I think I weeded the zinnia's and unfortunately no peppers sprouted. However, I am currently swimming in vegetables.
Three days later...
Tonight there was even more growth and it was even more amazing to me. I find myself gushing over the plants like pets. I'm honestly worried about going out of town for the next four days. I'll have a chance to water every day but I think it's going to be time to harvest some of the kale and definitely the cilantro! Out of everything growing, I've become the most sensual with the cilantro; I absolutely love the smell of it on my fingertips. The carrots seem to have a ways to go, as well as the beets. For me, something seemingly wonderful out of all this is how many bees are attracted to the broccoli--they're broccoli-philic bees! There are more bees gathering pollen from my broccoli alone than everywhere else in the garden combined.
Everything is really close together still, but whenever I have tried to move things they don't end up surviving. I feel like it will be important to pull up whatever is ready as soon as it's ready. I don't even know how I'll go about determining if the broccoli is ready or not... I hope I'll know when I see it.
--Kate, friend of the bees :bz